Pondering the tragedy of the flood, I was perplexed by the question, What would be the purpose of creating the human race only to destroy it in the deluge? Of course, G‑d did spare one man, Noah, and his family, along with representatives of animal species, to rebuild the world anew. It occurred to me that this cycle—creation (or construction, making, giving), destruction (or deconstruction, breaking), and reconstruction (or rebuilding, recreating, reviving) —occurred before and after Noah’s flood. (For the sake of consistency, we should be following the same terminology—either creation-destruction-rebuilding or construction-deconstruction-reconstruction. However, in different contexts, different terminology may be more appropriate. Thus, we are going to take some liberties in mixing and matching various synonyms, using whatever terms are most appropriate in a particular context, even if it violates the consistency of style.)

Breaking of the Vessels

At the beginning of the creation of spiritual worlds, G‑d created the first universe—Olam HaTohu, (the “universe of chaos”). That universe did not survive. Overwhelmed by the powerful spiritual light, the vessels for Tohu shattered. The breaking of the vessels (shevirat hakelim)—the key doctrine of the Lurianic Kabbalah—resulted in the destruction of the universe of Tohu. However, the shards of the shattered vessels of Tohu that fell into the second universe—the universe of Tikkun (“rectification”)—were used to regenerate the spiritual realm, ultimately resulting in the creation of the physical universe and humanity. This was the first occurrence of the cycle of creation, destruction, and reconstruction. Note that the universe of Tikkun that arose from the reconstruction after destruction was a superior world, in that it was sustainable and enduring, unlike the universe of Tohu, which did not survive.

Noah’s Flood

The second time the cycle of creation/destruction/reconstruction occurred, as mentioned above, was the story of creation. The creation of the world and the first humans was, of course, the first phase of the cycle—the creation. The creation, however, was followed by destruction in the deluge:

And the Eternal said: “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and creeping thing, and fowl of the air; for it repenteth Me that I have made them.” . . . And the earth was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. And God saw the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way upon the earth. And God said unto Noah: “The end of all flesh is come before Me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth. . . . For yet seven days, and I will cause it to rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights; and every living substance that I have made will I blot out from off the face of the earth.” And all flesh perished that moved upon the earth, both fowl, and cattle, and beast, and every swarming thing that swarmeth upon the earth, and every man; all in whose nostrils was the breath of the spirit of life, whatsoever was in the dry land, died. And He blotted out every living substance which was upon the face of the ground, both man, and cattle, and creeping thing, and fowl of the heaven; and they were blotted out from the earth…

Genesis 6:7, 11–13; 7:4, 21–23

The destruction was followed by the reconstruction of the world and the rebuilding of life from the family of Noah and the animals that had been saved in the Ark.

And God spoke unto Noah, saying: “Go forth from the Ark, thou, and thy wife, and thy sons, and thy sons’ wives with thee. Bring forth with thee every living thing that is with thee of all flesh, both fowl, and cattle, and every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth; that they may swarm in the earth, and be fruitful, and multiply upon the earth.”

Genesis 8:15–17

Adam and Eve

On a smaller scale, the cycle of creation/destruction/reconstruction also played out in the creation of the first humans, Adam and Eve. In Genesis, we find two accounts of the creation of Adam and Eve, in both of which this cycle plays out. In the first account, G‑d created Adam and Eve as one person:

And God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them.

Genesis 1:27

According to some biblical commentators, Adam and Eve were created as conjoined twins attached side by side. As Kabbalah teaches, the creation was followed by the process of nisira (“cutting”)—the first surgery—to separate the conjoined twins. This cutting could be viewed as the destruction of the original creation of man, who was both male and female. Subsequently, Adam and Eve were reunited in marital union, resulting in the birth of their children—Cain and Abel (with their twin sisters).

In the second account of the creation of Adam and Eve, Adam appears to have been created alone (the act of creation). That creation was followed by the removal of his rib (the act of destruction) from which Eve was made.

And the Eternal God said: “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a help mate for him.” . . . And the Eternal God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the place with flesh instead thereof. And the rib, which the Eternal God had taken from the man, made He a woman, and brought her unto the man. And the man said: “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.”

Genesis 2:7, 21–23

We see again that the destruction is followed by reconstruction manifested in the story of Adam and Eve in their happy reunion as “one flesh.”[1]


Marriage, in Jewish mysticism, follows the same pattern. The soul, when it is first created, exists as one unit incorporating both male and female aspects. Before vesting itself in a human body, the soul is deconstructed into two separate halves—male and female—which incarnate respectively into male and female bodies.[2] This is why men and women seek their soulmates until they find each other and join again in marriage. This is the reconstruction (reunification of the soul) following the deconstruction into two halves.

Breaking the Tablets

The same scenario played out during the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai. First, G‑d wrote the Torah on the stone tablet made by Moses:

And He gave unto Moses, when He had made an end of speaking with him upon mount Sinai, the two tables of the testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God.

Exodus 31:18

This was the creation of the tablets, which was followed by their destruction when Moses broke the tablets:

And it came to pass, as soon as he came nigh unto the camp, that he saw the calf and the dancing; and Moses’ anger waxed hot, and he cast the tables out of his hands, and broke them beneath the mount.

Exodus 32:19

In the act of reconstruction, G‑d replaced the broken tablets with new ones:

And the Lord said unto Moses: “Hew thee two tables of stone like unto the first; and I will write upon the tables the words that were on the first tables, which thou didst break.”

Exodus 32:19

Once again, we find the cycle of creation/destruction/reconstruction playing out in the account of the giving of the Torah.

The Holy Temple

The Holy Temple, Bet HaMikdash, was built by King Solomon in Jerusalem in the tenth century BCE. This was an act of creation that tragically did not last. The temple was destroyed, twice. It was promised to be reconstructed in the messianic era as described in the book of Ezekiel in chapters 40 to 49. The third temple is to be eternal. Construction, destruction, and reconstruction.

Birth, Death, and Resurrection

Looking at the complete life cycle of a human being, we find the same cycle—creation, destruction, and reconstruction. Life begins with birth (creation), followed by death and decay (destruction). However, the ultimate destiny is resurrection (reconstruction)—teḥiyat ha-metim (“life to the dead”)[3]—which will occur in the messianic era. Once again, note the superiority of the reconstruction phase over the original creation—those who are born are destined to die, but those who will ultimately be resurrected[4] will live forever.

From the point of view of structural analysis, all the above accounts of creation-destruction-reconstruction are structurally identical. But what is behind this peculiar structure?

Thesis, Antithesis, and Synthesis

What is behind this mysterious cycle of creation, destruction, and reconstruction? It appears to me that it is a manifestation of a fundamental triad of dialectics—thesis, antithesis, and synthesis. The dialectical method can mean a type of discourse or an argument to establish the truth through reasoned argumentation, as it was used in ancient Greece. The dialectical method played a prominent role in the philosophies of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle, who claimed that dialectic was introduced by the pre-Socratic philosopher Zeno of Elea. The Socratic method found in the dialogues of Plato is one of the first examples of the use of the dialectical method in classical Greece. Platonism and Neoplatonism elevated the dialectics to an ontological and metaphysical role embracing multiplicity in unity. Aristotle emphasized the role of the dialectical method in rhetoric.

Only in the nineteenth century did Fichte,[5] followed by Hegel,[6] elevate dialectic into a fundamental aspect of reality. Hegelian dialectics concerns itself with historical development arising out of the tension between competing ideas. It is usually presented as a triad of thesis, antithesis, and synthesis. Hegel, however, never used this terminology himself,[7] attributing it to Kant.[8] But Kant did not use this terminology, either. It was Fichte who introduced the triad of thesis/antithesis/synthesis in the process of further developing Kantian ideas.

Three dialectical stages of development are a thesis that gives rise to its own negation; an antithesis, which contradicts or negates the thesis; and the synthesis, which resolves the tension between the two.

The thesis is an idea, a concept, or an intellectual statement. No idea is perfect and, therefore, there is room within each thesis for its own negation—the antithesis, which is the opposite idea. However, any negation of an imperfect idea is also imperfect. Only the synthesis of the thesis and the antithesis unites the elements of truth found in each of them. Therefore, synthesis is superior to both thesis and antithesis.

The synthesis itself becomes a new thesis, which allows for the development of a new antithesis and the new synthesis, and so on. This is what moves history forward. Hegel used the German word Aufhebung (“sublation,” “overcoming”), which preserves the useful elements of an idea (such as thesis and antithesis) to move beyond its limitations. Just as each triad of thesis/antithesis/synthesis is replaced by a new triad of thesis (the synthesis of the previous triad)/new antithesis/new synthesis, so too each cycle of creation/destruction/reconstruction is followed by another similar cycle unfolding on a higher level.

Chain of Thesis-Antithesis-Synthesis Triads

It is interesting to note that the notion of the thesis/antithesis/synthesis triad has deep roots in Jewish thought. G‑d is an absolute perfection that contains every thesis and antithesis. Any suggestion that G‑d may be lacking any thesis or antithesis would contradict G‑d’s shlemut—absolute completeness and perfection—because G‑d lacks nothing! Moreover, G‑d contains contradictory notions, such as thesis and antithesis. The sages termed this self-contradictory aspect of G‑d as nimna hanimna’ot(literally “restricting [all] restrictions”), that is, the “paradox of paradoxes.”[9] G-d is the ultimate paradox.[10] Perhaps the most striking paradox is that He exists and does not exist, as it were, at the same time. What is meant by the “nonexistence” of G‑d is that His existence is not at all like human existence. Moreover, He is not limited by His existence. In a manner of speaking, G‑d is in a state of superposition of existing and not existing, which is a kind of existence that is unknown to us. The closest metaphor that comes to mind is the quantum-mechanical superposition of states and the famous Schrodinger cat that is in a superposition of states of being alive and dead simultaneously. The created worlds reflect, to an extent, the properties of the Creator. Consequently, we find in this world a thesis, an affirmative statement or a proposition that reflects G‑d’s existence, and an antithesis that negates the thesis and, therefore, reflects the state of G‑d’s “nonexistence.” The created worlds cannot contain contradictions, and no perfection is found in the lower worlds. Therefore, every thesis is necessarily imperfect, which leaves room for an antithesis that challenges the validity of the thesis. The antithesis, however, must also be imperfect, calling for its own refutation. Both thesis and antithesis exist at a tension, which can only be resolved on a higher level through a synthesis. Thus, dialectics necessarily follows from the perfection of G‑d and the imperfection of the lower worlds, which strive to reflect the Creator, propelling them from a thesis to antithesis to synthesis, a synthesis that itself becomes a new thesis, repeating the cycle ad infinitum.

Thesis, Antithesis, and Synthesis in Physics

Let us consider a few examples of thesis, antithesis, and synthesis in physics. The first example that comes to mind is time. Time neatly divides into three domains—past, present, and future. The past, which is known, is the thesis. The future, which is unknown, is the antithesis. The present is a synthesis of the past and the future; as Jewish sages have stated, the past impregnates the future, which gives birth to the present. This similarity between the physics and Kabbalistic conceptions of time is not coincidental, because the triad of past/future/present corresponds to the sefirotic triad okhmah, binah, and da’at. Ḥokhmah is the past, binah is the future, and da’at is the present. Ḥokhmah corresponds to partzuf Aba (the “supernal father”), binah corresponds to partzuf Ima (the “supernal mother), and da’at is toledot (“children”). Indeed, the spiritual coupling of partzuf Aba and partzuf Ima gives birth to toledotmidot (the seven lower sefirot).

Another example is three-dimensional physical space. Three dimensions yield six directions—up-down, right-left, and front-back. Kabbalah identifies these six directions with six extremities of Zeer Anpin (Z”A—the “small countenance”) or, simply speaking, six lower sefirotChesed, Gevurah, Tiferet, Netzach, Hod, and Sod. These six midot are arranged in two triads—ChesedGevurahTiferet and Netzach-Hod-Sod. Each of these triads is a manifestation of the dialectical triad thesis/antithesis/synthesis.

In physics, we have three base quantities (“dimensions,” not to be confused with spatial dimensions)—time, length, and mass. Each of these base quantities has units such as second for time, meter for length, and gram for mass. It seems that these three dimensions—time, length, and mass—correspond to thesis, antithesis, and synthesis. Metaphysically speaking, time is change, space is the lack of change, and mass is the resistance to change. Consequently, we can say that time is the thesis, space is the antithesis, and mass is the synthesis. The first two are self-evident because space, as the lack of change, is the antithesis of change—time. But why is mass a synthesis? Because mass embraces both—change and the lack of change. Mass is the measure of resistance to change (the greater the mass, the less acceleration), and as such, it allows motion (change) but tempers it by preventing infinite acceleration in response to any force applied, however small. (Recall that according to the Second Law of Newton, acceleration is the force divided by mass.) A physical world with no mass could not exist because everything would be moving infinitely fast. Thus, a world where objects have mass allows for change (motion) while maintaining stability. This is a clear example of synthesis being superior to thesis and antithesis.

As the last example, we will consider the wave function—the main object in quantum mechanics. The wave function contains all information about the physical state of the system and, therefore, is the thesis. The collapse of the wave function destroys all other states except for one obtained in measurement—this is the antithesis. What is synthesis? I think it is the Born rule, according to which the square amplitude of the wave function is the probability of finding the system in a particular state. Born rule ties the wave function with the result of the measurement and, therefore, is the synthesis.

The Superiority of Synthesis

Creation is the thesis, destruction is the antithesis, and reconstruction is the synthesis. It is self-evident why creation is the thesis and destruction is the antithesis. But why is the reconstruction a synthesis?

The breaking of the vessels in the Universe of Tohu resulted from the self-centeredness of the sefirotChesed was only Chesed and had no room for Gevurah, and vice versa. Conversely, in the universe of Tikkun, the sefirot are inter-included—each of the ten sefirot contains ten sub-sefirot. For example, the sefirah of Chesed includes sub-sefirot Chesed of Chesed, Gevurah of Chesed, Tiferet of Chesed, etc. Essentially, each sefirah is “constructed” of all ten sefirot. This synthetic structure created an enduring universe of Tikkun.

Moreover, the sefirotic tree of the Universe of Tohu is constructed in the form of triads, each of which is the thesis-antithesis-synthesis triad.[11] The first triad is okhmah-binahda’at; the second triad is esed-gevurah-tiferet; and the third triad is netza-hod-yesod. Let us take, for example, the second triad, esed-gevurah-tiferet. esed (love-kindness) is a thesis. Gevurah (strict judgment) is the antithesis—it judges the potential recipient of kindness—if the recipient is not worthy, he does not receive any kindness. Thus, gevurah can limit esed and vice versa. Tiferet (which manifests as raamim, “mercy”), on the other hand, is the synthesis—one can be merciful to a person even if he is undeserving. Tiferet, therefore has an advantage over esed and gevurah, because it is not limited by either of them. Thus, the synthesis phase of the creation-destruction-recreation cycle is indeed superior when it comes to rebuilding the Universe of Tikkun from the shards of the broken vessels of the universe of Tohu.

Similarly, although Adam and Eve were at first created as one human being, their marital union after being separated into two separate beings is considered in Kabbalah a higher unity than the unity of having been created as one being.

Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife, and they shall be one flesh.

Genesis 2:24

In the eponymous book by John Grey, he asserts that men are from Mars and women are from Venus. This astronomical allegory aside, men and women are indeed quite different in many respects. In the imagery of Kabbalah, the man is sefirah of Chesed or partzuf Zeer Anpin and the woman is sefirah of gevurah or partzuf Nukvah. The synthesis of the opposites is superior to each—the thesis and the antithesis. Reconstruction after deconstruction is higher than the original creation.

Similarly, the reunification of the male and female souls in marriage is superior to the original unity when the soul was one, combining male and female aspects, like a magnet with north and south poles.

The reconstructed world after Noah’s flood was superior to the antediluvian world in the sense that it would never be destroyed again—the promise G‑d gave Noah.

…And the Eternal said in His heart: “I will not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake; for the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done. While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.”

Genesis 8:15-17

The reconstructed world was sustainable and enduring.

Similarly, the second set of Tables was higher than the first set broken by Moses. The sages of the Talmud teach that whereas the first tablets contained only the Written Torah (Pentateuch, Prophets, and Writings), the second Tablets contained both Written and Oral Torah (Mishnah, Gemara, Aggad’ta, midrashim, Kabbalah, etc.). Therefore, the second Tablets are deemed to be superior to the first. The Kabbalah teaches that the Written Torah is partzuf Zeer Anpin (Z”A) whereas the Oral Torah is partzuf Nukva d’Z”A. In the second Tablet, they found happy synthesis. Again, reconstruction after deconstruction is greater than the original creation.

The reason for the superiority of synthesis over thesis and antithesis is simple. Each of these concepts—thesis and antithesis—by themselves are static; there is no interaction or dynamic. When simply brought together, being opposites, they cancel each other out. However, in synthesis, they create a concept that combines both concepts—thesis and antithesis—in an interactive and dynamic fashion. This is why dialectical interaction is only possible when the thread of thesis—antithesis—synthesis is present.

Before creation, G‑d was the only existence. He was one, but utterly alone. Creation entailed specifically the creation of the lower worlds where the Creator is not felt, and the creations feel their independent existence. However illusory this independence is, from the vantage point of the creations—human beings—it feels as it is true independence to the extent that we humans have the audacity to deny G‑d’s existence. But this is precisely what G‑d wanted in creating these lower worlds. The goal is for us to come to the understanding that there is a Creator and to find Him on our own. In the messianic time, the ultimate unity will be achieved, which will be greater than the original unity of G‑d before the creation. In the words of the prophet:

For the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.[12]

Isaiah 11:9

This is the ultimate purpose of the creation.


[1] Most classical biblical commentators insist that these two stories of the creation of Adam and Eve are two accounts of one story, first told in broad brush-strokes in the first chapter of Genesis and retold in greater details in the second chapter. The apparent discrepancy between the two stories (in the first, Eve was created at the same time as Adam as his conjoint twin and in the second she was ostensibly created later out of Adam’s rib) is the result of mistranslation in King James Bible. The word translated as “rib” (tzelem) also means side. According to this translation, the second account merely fill in the details of how G‑d separated the conjoint twins along the side where they had been attached.

[2] Although, rarely, there can be a mix-up leading to a male sole incarnating into a female soul or vice versa. See my essay, “Akeida in Parallel Universes,” (https://quantumtorah.com/akeida-in-parallel-universes retrieved on 11/11/2022).

[3] The belief in the resurrection of the dead is the last of the Thirteen Principles of Faith canonized by Maimonides. For biblical sources of the belief in resurrection of the dead see Isaiah 26:19, and Daniel 12:2. For biblical accounts of the resurrection of the dead see 1 Kings 17:17–24, 2 Kings 4:8–16, 2 Kings 13:21.

[4] Ethics of the Father 4:22.

[5] Johann Gottlieb Fichte (1762 – 1814), important Jewish-German philosopher, who was the founder of German idealism and modern dialectic. Fichte was also the originator of thesis–antithesis–synthesis triad erroneously attributed to Hegel. See, for example, Fichte: Early Philosophical Writings, Cornell University Press. p. 63. 

[6] Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770 – 1831), German philosopher and one of the most important figures in German Idealism and Dialectic. He is considered one of the founders of modern Western philosophy, whose influence extends to every field of modern philosophical discourse.

[7] The triad thesis, antithesis, and synthesis, is usually erroneously attributed to Hegel. See on this, “The Hegel Legend of “Thesis-Antithesis-Synthesis,” by Gustav E. Mueller, Journal of the History of Ideas, University of Pennsylvania Press , Vol. 19, No. 3 (Jun., 1958), pp. 411-414 . Hegel used different terminology: abstract-negative-concrete. The terms thesis, antithesis, and synthesis were coined by Johann Fichte.

[8] Immanuel Kant (1724 – 1804), a German philosopher who was one of the leading thinkers of the Enlightenment and one of the most influential figures of modern Western philosophy. In his magnum opus Critique of Pure Reason, Kant wrote, “In every class there is the same number of categories, namely three, which again makes us ponder, because generally all division a priori by means of concepts must be a dichotomy. It should be remarked also, that the third category always arises from the combination of the second with the first …” Immanuel Kant, Critique of Pure Reason, B110.

[9] Responsa of the Rashba (Shu”t HaRashb”a), Vol. I, sec. 418; see also Sefer HaChakirah by the Tzemach Tzedek, p. 34b ff.

[10] See more on this in my essay, Physics of Tzimtzum II — Collapse of the Wave Function (https://quantumtorah.com/tzimtzum-ii-collapse-of-the-wave-function, 09/11/2020, retrieved November 13, 2022).

[11] Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan, Sefer Yetzirah: The Book of Creation, (1997: Weiser Books), Ch.1:13, p. 62.

[12] A similar prophecy is found in Habakkuk: “For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.,” (Habakkuk 2:14)